Does the Social Security Administration Administer Drug Testing?

Currently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a drug testing policy in place for individuals to receive disability benefits. However, if you currently abuse alcohol or take illegal drugs, you should obtain the help you need before applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI). Alcohol and drug abuse may affect your physical or mental impairment and, consequently, affect your claim for SSDI benefits.

An experienced OC SSDI benefits attorney can answer all your legal questions regarding your eligibility for benefits and can help you file your application with the SSA.

Who Is Eligible to Receive SSDI Benefits?

To receive SSDI benefits, you must meet several requirements. First, you must suffer from a long-term physical disability or illness. Next, that disability must prevent you from partaking in a substantial gainful activity (SGA), as determined by a qualified medical provider. In other words, to be eligible for benefits, your disability must ordinarily prevent you from working at any job in any capacity. Moreover, you must have paid into the Social Security System for a sufficient period of time.

It is not unusual for the SSA to deny an SSDI benefits application the first time around. If that happens to you, you may be eligible to file an administrative appeal – or an appeal in the federal court system – depending upon the circumstances.

What Can Happen If You Abuse Drugs or Alcohol?

Abusing drugs or alcohol can seriously affect your eligibility for SSDI benefits. In fact, using or abusing illegal or controlled substances may cause the SSA to deny your application for benefits outright. At other times, the SSA may consider your substance-abuse history as a symptom of psychological disability or mental incapacity.

Regardless of how the SSA views your drug or alcohol abuse, it may be illegal – or even impractical – to spend the limited disability payments you receive on your alcohol or drug habit. In addition to potentially losing your SSDI benefits, abusing alcohol or drugs may subject you to criminal liability, including severe legal penalties upon conviction.

Discovering Your Alcohol or Drug Abuse Problem

When you fill out an application for disability benefits, the SSA will ask questions about whether or not you use alcohol or drugs regularly. In some instances, you may need to attend a physical examination during the disability review process. At that exam, the medical provider who examines you may ask you questions about whether or not you currently or previously abused alcohol or drugs.

Moreover, as part of the disability benefits application process, you will need to turn over various medical records. If you previously underwent blood or urine testing for drugs, your medical records may include those references.

Finally, as part of the disability benefits application process, you assure that you will be honest and answer all of the SSA’s questions to the best of your ability. If you fail to disclose your alcohol or substance abuse on the application materials, and the SSA subsequently discovers it, they can immediately discontinue your disability benefits.

Speak with a California SSDI Benefits Attorney Today

If you are currently pursuing SSDI benefits, you should speak with a knowledgeable California disability benefits lawyer right away. Your attorney can help you recover the benefits you deserve and, if necessary, appeal a benefits claim denial in a timely manner on your behalf.